Day one of planning

Hello all,

Please explain what most people do about vehicles?

Do you buy there?

If new and paid for do you ship it and register it in Costa Rica?



@Ken Mack - personally I bought new.  It was roughly 20% more expensive than in the US but it is (a) under warranty, and (b) has a service protection plan.  Before I moved and purchased my vehicle I asked more than 20 people (expats and Ticos alike) if they had good used car (pre-owned) recommendations and not one did.  That made me choose new.  I do know many who have purchased used and most had fine experiences. 

after 32 years living in costa rica central valley i realize most people think they need 4x4

but i had one and almost never used it

my wife was an appraiser for the local banks here and was going all over the rural areas and purchased a jimny when they had the real 4x4 on the floor not a push button look alike

i just bought her a new nissan sentra with the complete safety sense which prevents accidents even if the driver is not alert for $32000

the one item that is more costly here is gas and cars but she has a lot of condos which are mostly rented by retired gringos and almost none have a car since most are on social security with average $1500 month so they can affford the $500 to $800 rent usually completed furnished but use uber or the bus which is very cheap here

if you do not eat in restaurants food is very cheap here and i read about the gringos wanting to live on the beach which is not cheap or in rural areas (most will not find safety there) but the real story is this country is must less expensive than the states if you get advice from long term expat residents who are not looking to rip you off which is often too common in any foreign country since the locals usually do not have money especially to buy cars

as to bringing car here there are several risks in shipping and the delays in customs

also the warranty is not transferable from the states here

you can read a lot of info from the last 30 years from expats who have written us

look at the site orbitcostarica


Thank you for your reply…

Can you and your wife recommend a trustworthy realtor??



I agree that the simplest and safest way is to purchase a new car here from the sole importer of that brand. You'll get a fresh vehicle and a warranty. Failing that, I'd import a two or three year-old vehicle from the States that is a brand and model you see commonly in Costa Rica. By that age, the vehicle will have taken the greatest depreciation and also be taxed at the lowest rate. Have it fully serviced in the States and you'll be fine.

Used cars here can be a quagmire. Costa Rica is the home of the altered title and also the home of the superficially refurbished flood car. Rolling back odometers is universal. If you want a "survivor" of a catastrophic hurricane, we have a wide selection from which to choose. And while it's no longer legal to join the front end of one wreck to the rear end of a similar wreck, that doesn't mean it isn't done or that you can't find such a "hybrid" for sale.

BTW, with around ninety dealers, Grecia is the center of the used vehicle market. We have lots and lots to offer.

And also . . . The cost of importing a vehicle, new or used, is the same whether it's for your personal use or to sell from your dealership. There's no financial benefit afforded to dealers. And, to the cost of the vehicle and the government's take, you must add on the dealer's overhead, his or her profit, and whatever s/he adds to feed his or her family, to put away for the kids' university educations, etc.

@daveandmarcia Thank you